International Day for Monuments and Sites 2024

Galway Community Archaeology Fieldtrip 18th April 2024

B. Doherty

The sun shone in East Galway Thursday 18th April 2024 when a bus pulled up at Abbeygormican, Kilboght and St Kerrills, Gurteen. Galway Community Archaeologist Bernie Doherty, accompanied by Heritage Officer Marie Mannion and Dr Christy Cunniffe brought a group to three sites which received funding through The Community Monuments Fund, administered by Galway County Council on behalf of The National Monuments Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.


Abbeygormican is an Augustinian House, founded by the Cormicans in the Twelfth Century. It is possible it was constructed on an earlier site, traces of which may be seen in the surrounding landscape in the form of a circular enclosure.  What stands today is the chancel wall and transept chapel, now conserved thanks to ongoing work by the graveyard committee in securing funding. An artist’s impression of what Abbeygormican may have looked like was also shown to allow the group visualise this important site. The group have also carried out the Digital Recording of the Graveyard, funded by Galway Rural Development and supported by Galway County Council and The Heritage Council.


Kilboght Church, Graveyard and Mausoleum also saw a transformation with the removal of ivy and stabilisation of the church, dedicated to St. Richella, and The Blake Mausoleum.

Peggy Doherty told the group about the years of ongoing struggle for  the community to maintain this rare and sensitive site. Its fine medieval features were admired by all the visitors. Dr Christy Cunniffe and Dominic Delany were on site to guide the visitors and point out architectural fragments used as grave markers, medieval tool marks on the water font and the outline of the original medieval parish church and later extensions. Mike Herwood, Galway Stone Design was also on hand to demonstrate the skills of the tradesmen who carried out the works at Kilboght 2023.

Ecologist Talk

During light refreshments in Dessie O’Brien’s, Kilrickle the group were enlightened by Pat Roberts, Ecologist, MKO Ltd on his involvement with each conservation project, and the need to engage with professional services in advance of any works at an archaeological site or monument, particularly when overgrowth or ivy is involved.

St Kerrill’s Abbey, Gurteen

St Kerrill’s Abbey, Gurteen, also known as Cloonkeenkerrill, was the final stop for the tour. Martina Donnellan highlighted St Kerrills significance within the community, and  enlightened the group on the folklore and traditions of the church and graveyard. An effigy to Bishop O’Kelly, A cat-o-mount on a Burke tomb and a number of medieval architectural features including an ogee headed window  were highlighted.

Sincere thanks to everyone who made the day a huge success. Particular thanks to Martina, Antoinette and Marie who helped at the bus stops and to the community groups who came out to welcome visitors.

Galway Community Archaeology Project is funded by Galway County Council and The Heritage Council

See below a selection of photographs from the day. If you would like to contribute please do contact us with your pictures and thoughts on the day.


This page was added on 02/05/2024.

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